This 27-year-old boy from Georgia released his successful national debut project Ten Thousand Days in 1999 on new label Watershed Records. The album did surprisingly well, debuting at number 3 on the Internet Sales Chart ahead of Backstreet Boys and Sarah MacLachlan. It sold more than 125,000 copies in the U.S. and became the top-selling new artist release in Europe for the year 2000. This May, Bebo Norman releases his sophomore national release which is bound to do just as well or better than its predecessor.
A little less folk and rootsy-oriented, Big Blue Sky, although still prominently just Bebo and his guitar (with some accompaniments), is more layered and more of a pop-oriented nature. It is evident that Bebo's lyrical and musical compositioning has changed. "The way I look at what a song should be has definitely changed," Bebo states in his official bio. "Even though I still enjoy a mysterious nature of very lyrical songs, I've begun to appreciate how profound a simple and repetitive pop song can be."
Big Blue Sky opens with the upbeat "I Am," which indeed is repetitive, but from the opening of the song, it's clear the album will be much easier listening. Songs like "Perhaps She'll Wait for Me" and "Where You Are" are more signature of Norman's earlier work. Primarily and often solely just himself and his guitar, these ballads are intimate and soothing. "Tip of My Heart" and "Underneath" are more up-beat acoustic pop tunes reminiscent of Steven Curtis Chapman's earlier work and Eli's current. However, one of the best, if not the best track on the record is "Break Me Through." Probably the most different sounding song on the album, Bebo's vocals float over a poppy bass beat with a soft synth creating a beautifully peaceful ballad. Slightly reminiscent of something that one might hear on the Newsboys' Not Ashamed record, the listener will likely be addicted after a couple listens. Bebo proves his versatility and makes it clear he has a lot to offer musically.
With each song and each album, Norman is continually reaching into the depths of the listener's soul lyrically, and musically further securing himself as a talented pop figure in the Christian music scene.- Review date: 4/29/01, written by John DiBiase
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